“You can’t have just one”

All my blogs in November are part of NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month, a challenge to post a blog everyday for the whole month. I’m taking part in this with my friend Amy – check out her blog here!

Disclaimer: I am absolutely not against anyone who has or wants more than one child. Family sizes are down to personal choice and circumstances; if I were to have an unplanned pregnancy, then I would have a family of more than one child, no question. I believe that once in the world, I would never regret having a child. Also, I’m aware that I might change my mind one day (although I can’t see that happening)!

The husband and I often have a bit of clash over talks of the future and how many children we want. I want to stay as we are, just us and P, but D would like another child.

This is where I’m coming from…

Like both my Mum and my Nan, I’m an only child. Contrary to popular belief, I had a good childhood and I was not lonely. I do not remember ever wishing for a sibling. In fact, I remember feeling quite glad to not have a brother or sister, as my friends all seemed to hate theirs and would always be moaning about them! Even as adults, I know people that don’t talk to their siblings whatsoever; my Dad doesn’t get on that well with his sister, D has an ok relationship with his brother but they also judge each other a bit and I can feel the rivalry at times.

I don’t want any of that for P. Not when I know how it is not to have those kind of problems. I know that it isn’t like that in every family, that there are good times with big families and there are some siblings that are very close, but it’s just not something I want for us.

There are other factors too; my pregnancy wasn’t great. I was in pain for most of it and I don’t know how I would’ve coped with another child to look after as well. Of course there is the possibility that a second pregnancy would be completely different, but you just can’t tell. In my family history there is a high risk of pre-eclampsia, which luckily I didn’t suffer from with P, but I don’t like the idea of chancing that a second time. I also don’t know how my body would recover from a second caesarean section…P was 15 days overdue, I had a failed induction and she weighed in at 10lb 3oz! There is no way I would consider a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), especially with the general rule that consecutive babies are bigger than the one before.

I also think about the long term future, money and stuff. We are very lucky in that we will be inheriting enough money soon to give us a large deposit on a house, but our income won’t be that much better after all the changes. I know that once P is at school I will be looking at my career and aiming for full time work again, which will increase our income, but that will be for savings and luxuries. I don’t want to spoil P, but I don’t want her to go without. I want her to have the opportunity for school trips and clubs and hobbies. I want us to be able to afford to have a dog, to go on days out and make wonderful memories for her with lifetime experiences.

Right now, P is my world and I am hers – with D too! – and I don’t want that to change. Her life would be turned upside down with another child; so would mine. Perhaps you think I’m selfish. Maybe I am. But it is mine and P’s lives that would be most greatly affected and I don’t want that to happen. Through friends and twitter I am witness to how hard it can be with two or more children, no matter what the age difference. Don’t get me wrong, I also see the love and happiness it beings that family unit, but I’d rather not go through any of the negatives. P has always been a good sleeper, bad with teething mind you, but I thought that was the price for the sleeping! What if the next baby didn’t sleep? Had terrible colic? What if there we’re complications and we had to spend some time in hospital? Too many what ifs…

D has a few medical things that make him tired. A disturbed night really affects him and takes him a few full nights of sleep to recover from. So whilst he will offer to help, I know that generally if he wakes while I’m up with P for some reason, I have to send him back to bed. Imagine how that would be with 2 poorly children…I’m there, struggling, craving sleep and yet can’t ask/accept help because I know that he will suffer too much. It’s not a case of ‘man up’ or ‘too bad he has to go to work tired’, it’s serious and affects his life. After the times that he has helped overnight, I have felt so bad, knowing that he probably feels worse than I do, even though he only did one wake up out of five or so.

Another factor: babysitting. My mum has chronic back problems and struggles with the lifting and shifting. It’s easier for her now that P is walking and a little more independent, but it was hard when she was younger and wanted holding a lot and picking up before she could round herself. My dad dotes on P, but prefers to show off about her, than have her around a lot. Once he has retired, I know that their hobbies and holidays will take up a lot of their time. They do have P to stay every so often, or mum will come to ours if we need her to, but we don’t go out too much together. D’s mum is very busy with her own business and doesn’t have the time to be available much. We go to see her often and on occasion she will look after P here, but we don’t like to bother her too much. Also, her future plans are to emigrate to Canada, so one day she won’t be around for babysitting at all! We have friends who have done a short stint of looking after for us, for example house viewings and a funeral, but other than that the parents are our babysitters. I can only see this becoming trickier with more children, and whilst I don’t actually want to go out that often, things like weddings do crop up and require assistance from someone to have your offspring! I think it’s easier to call in favours for one child, than for 2 or more.

In years to come when P is staying over at a friend’s house, it will be nice to know that we have a night to just us. I remember from my childhood trying to arrange sleepovers round my friend’s sibling and when she had friends over, whereas I could be so much more flexible with that as it was just me!

So those are my feelings. If I do have a surprise pregnancy, I shall have to face my demons about the matter. In the meantime, I shall enjoy my family of just us three and keep condoms in my bedside drawer 😉

An extra note:
More came to mind…I don’t want to have to worry about treating my children the same, doing for one what I did for the other but no more. For example, when I started the 366 project of taking a photo of P every day, a friend said along the lines of, “oh what a lovely idea! But I can’t do that for B because I didn’t do it for A”. I felt sad about that.

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4 thoughts on ““You can’t have just one”

  1. Great post! As you know, I’m currently facing those demons you talk about. Had certainly never planned more than one, didn’t see any problem with that either. My choice. Our choice.
    But sometimes things happen that totally change your planned future and as long as you allow yourself to face those demons, that’s ok I think? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy and I relate to lots of things you have said here that you have reservations/concerns about.
    I’m just hoping that I can deal with them!!
    Enjoy your decision, for it is your decision alone (except OH of course) to make!!

    • Thank you Nel! I did think of you as I wrote this, knowing that if I were in similar circumstances I would have to face these feelings and properly deal with them. Fate throws us a curveball every now and again, and hopefully your curveball will be an amazing and happy experience. Hopefully it will be for me too if that is my path in life!
      Have you read Kelly’s blog from this afternoon? A wonderful post with a beautiful poem that might ring true for you x

  2. As i’ve said I love this post and your honesty. Even more so because it made me face a few ‘home truth’s’ i’ve been struggling with recently & made me want to write my thoughts on this subject down (that doesn’t happen often) i’m really grateful for that.

    People always seem to assume if you can have more than one baby you will, I too am guilty of that I have to say.

    Definitely my fav post out of your recent November blog posts.

    xx

    • Thank you Kelly, and I’m so pleased that some good came put of this post and you wrote your own blog. It was a pleasure to read. If I ever think about changing my mind, I’ll be digging out that poem! xx

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